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Sorry if this seems like a lame question but I want to be sure before making a decision.

The Virtualbox PUEL license says

“Personal Use” requires that you use the Product on the same Host Computer where you installed it yourself and that no more than one client connect to that Host Computer at a time for the purpose of displaying Guest Computers remotely.

I take this to mean that if I want to setup a development server (web server) that's only used by me to do my work this falls under personal use. But if I make this server available for clients to connect to the websites to view my progress this is no longer personal use also meaning that using Vbox to run a production web server is also against the license.

Again sorry if this is a dumb question but I find it hard to follow the wording used in licenses.

I know I could go with OSE but I have not looked into VNC versus RDP yet.


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You are correct, if you let other people remote into the the virtual machine then that would be going against the terms of the personal license. Since it seems that you are doing this for work the best route is to buy a paid version (assuming sun offers one) or go with something else.

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I'm not so sure.

I don't think that having other people connecting to the virtual machine is going against the terms of the licence.

To me it seems that having more than one person logged in to the virtual machine at the same time is going against the terms of the licence. I've used "logged in" rather than connected because of the phrase "displaying Guest Computers remotely". If your customers just look at the pages the server is producing, I don't think that would count (your mention of RDP suggests though, that your customers may be logging in as users on the virtual machine). When I search using Google, I wouldn't consider that I am viewing Googles' server, or that Google are displaying their server to me. Of course, Sun may not have the same attitude as me.

I'm not sure to what extent the lack of the RDP server is a problem, as long as you have access to the host machine. Surely, having an RDP server installed on the virtual machine would work.

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From VirtualBox Licensing FAQ:

(2) Can I buy a commercial license for VirtualBox?

If you are an individual end user, there is generally no need to purchase a commercial license, provided that you respect, ... the terms and conditions of the GPL, or, in the case of the VirtualBox extension pack, those of the Personal Use and Evaluation License.

(6) What exactly do you mean by personal use and academic use in the Personal Use and Evaluation License?

Personal use is when you install the product on one or more PCs yourself and you make use of it ... It doesn't matter whether you just use it for fun or run your multi-million euro business with it. Also, if you install it on your work PC at some large company, this is still personal use. However, if you are an administrator and want to deploy it to the 500 desktops in your company, this would no longer qualify as personal use. ...

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